Corporate sector needs to transform itself as socially responsible business entities for pro-poor growth, says Jahangir Khan Tareen

Islamabad, July 03, 2012 (PPI-OT): Corporate sector needs to transform itself as socially responsible business entities for pro-poor growth and overall welfare of society, said Jahangir Khan Tareen, eminent politician and entrepreneur while chairing a consultation and report launch organized by Sustainable Development Policy Institute (SDPI) on “the state of corporate social responsibility (CSR) in Pakistan- an illustrative example of sugar production” here on Tuesday.

He also launched two SDPI reports “Corporate Conscience: CSR in Pakistan – A study” and “Corporate Social Responsibility: Studying the Sugar Production Process in Pakistan”.

Shaista Sohail, Joint Secretary, Ministry of Industries and Production, Shaista Bano, Director, Competition Commission of Pakistan, Shafqat Munir, Coordinator Asia Rights in Crisis, Oxfam , Iskander Khan, Ex-Chairman, Pakistan Sugar Mills Association (PSMA), Muhammad Imran, Director, Corporate Social Responsibility Centre Pakistan, Dr Abid Suleri, Executive Director, SDPI, Qasim Ali Shah, Director Program Development, SDPI and Anam A Khan, Research Associate, SDPI also spoke on the occasion.

Jahangir Khan Tareen, deliberated that, thinking socially and ensuring the well being of the stakeholders has the potential for a successful business’. He shared the business model of his sugar mill in which he integrated business strategy with welfare of sugarcane farmers through micro credit and agricultural technical support.

This, he said, resulted in unprecedented increase in production and profitability. He also mentioned some of his social welfare interventions such as providing microcredit and technical agricultural support to farmers, providing funds to farmers for deep well turbine pumps, building schools and access roads establishing eye camps in rural communities and provision of artificial limbs for disable people.

Dr. Abid Suleri said that philanthropy, benevolence and corporate social responsibility must not be treated as same and be looked upon more consciously. He said, mere rhetoric and advertisement campaigns by business companies in Pakistan cannot be classified into CSR and there is need to have a structured approach while exploring the linkages between people, profit and prosperity.

Anam Anwar Khan shared the details of report on sugar industry and said that the sugar industry is the second largest industry of Pakistan, employing 1.5 million people. She said, the study of the sector reveals that some sugar mills are building the capacity of their farmers, providing them with training and advice, facilitating in efficacy of crops and providing them with easy, clean and safe paths to sale their stock.

However, there are some other mills which are crushing sugar farming community through exploitative practices, she added. She said, these exploitative actions include low and fixed rates for the crop, illegal deductions, restriction to the market and unjust buying terms and conditions.

She quoted report’s recommendation that policies should be designed and enacted to ensure that social responsibility is not just a charitable act but is legally supported and secured by the government.

Shaista Sohail informed participant on some of the measures taken by Ministry of Industries to facilitate industries and introduce corporate social responsibility in Pakistan. She shared the details of latest initiatives such as ‘every small effort counts’, setting up of hygienic latrines at airports in collaboration with private sector, implementation of zero waste concept and cleanup and face-lift of Karachi port and city.

Qasim Shah briefed participants on newly created South Asian Network on Sustainability and Responsibility (SANSAR) and said that the network will actively promote the concept of CSR to address social, environmental and business related issues across different sectors in the region.

Shafqat Munir discussed trilateral approach of CSR involving government, corporate sector and civil society for effective implementation of corporate social responsibility concept. He also proposed CSR certification for corporate enterprises.

Shaista Bano was of the view that compliance of rules, regulation and abidance of law is pre-requisite for companies beside performing social welfare intervention.

Imran Khan apprised participants on the concepts of philanthropy and corporate social responsibility. He said CSR is the Effort undertaken to improve wellbeing of humankind by solving social problems to improve human welfare.

For more information, contact:
Faisal Nadeem Gorchani
Coordinator, Policy Advocacy and Outreach
Sustainable Development Policy Institute (SDPI)
38 Embassy Road, G-6/3 Islamabad, Pakistan
Postal Code: 44000
Tel: +92-51-2278134, (Ext: 113)
Fax: +92-51-2278135
Cell: 00-92-333-559 2210